Tuesday, December 30, 2014

2014 end of year survey

This is the 5th annual End of Year Book Survey, hosted by The Perpetual Page Turner.  The survey is a great way to reflect on your own reading throughout the past year, and can also provide you with some great new book titles to add to your TBR list for 2015!
I shortened the survey a bit because of time constraints but I really wanted to participate. After reading my list, click here to go to the main post and join up with everyone else.  All of the questions are here for you.  I know I'll be adding a ton of new books to my 2015 reading list.  
Note: The survey is for books you read throughout the year, no matter when they were published, and is not limited to just books that came out in 2014!!

Number of books I read: 69... pretty darn good for someone who works full time and has two kids! lol.
Number of re-reads: 2
Genre I read the most from: Probably YA paranormal with historical fiction coming in 2nd

Best book I read in 2014:
I have to do a four way tie... sorry.

 Book I was excited about and thought I was going to love more but didn't:
Allegiant by Veronica Roth. I was very disappointed in the ending of this series.

Most surprising book I read in 2014:
Get Lost by Xavier Neal.  I really enjoyed this Peter Pan inspired story and I wasn't sure I would.

Books I pushed the most people to read in 2014:
I don't really push books but I did recommend Neanderthal Seeks Human and The Coldest Girl in Coldtown to a few people.

Best series I started in 2014, best sequel, and best ender:
Started: The Wishcraft Mystery series by Heather Blake
Sequel: Hollow City by Ransom Riggs
Ender: City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare

Favorite new author (for me anyway):
Amalie Howard (author of Bloodspell)

Best book in a genre I don't typically read:
The Chase by Lee Goldberg and Janet Evanovich

Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book(s):
The Coldest Girl in Coldtown
The Outside by Laura Bickle

Book I will most likely re-read in 2015:
The Coldest Girl in Coldtown

Favorite cover of a book I read in 2014:

Most memorable character of 2014:
Matthew Claremont from The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness

Most beautifully written book:
The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness

Most thought-provoking/life changing book:
I don't really have one but if I had to choose, it would be That Night by Chevy Stevens

Book I can't believe I waited until 2014 to read:
Mariana by Susanna Kearsley

Favorite passage/quote from a book in 2014:
I have way too many favorites.  I can't choose one.

Shortest book/longest book:
Shortest: Beauty and the Mustache by Penny Reid
Longest:  City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare

Book that shocked me the most:
Allegiant by Veronica Roth.  I did NOT like the ending

OTP of the year:
Charley Davidson and Reyes Farrow from the Charley Davidson series

Favorite non-romantic relationship of the year:
Harry and Hermoine from my re-read of Harry Potter

Book that put a smile on my face:
Lost Lake by Sarah Addison Allen

Book that made me cry:
The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

Hidden Gem of the Year:
Still going with The Coldest Girl in Coldtown

Book that crushed my soul:
Still going with Allegiant

Most unique book(s) of 2014:
The Coldest Girl in Coldtown or The Outside

My Blogging Life:

New favorite blog:
I have tons... there is no way for me to choose.  I visit new ones all the time.

Favorite review I wrote this year:
Bloodspell by Amalie Howard

Best event I participated in:
Bout of Books (spring session)
Goodreads Book Challenge

This is my second full year with my blog.  I wasn't sure it would last this long but I am still loving it.  I am finding new blogs all the time and I love taking time out to browse through them and see all of the great bookish posts each week.  I participated in several book challenges including the Goodreads challenge and went beyond my 52 book goal.  I made an additional goal last year to try to comment more on other people's blogs and have noticed an upswing in the comments I am receiving as well. This year I would like to branch out and take a chance at writing some posts that aren't focused on reviewing books or participating in weekly memes.  We will see how that goes. ;)

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Sunday, December 21, 2014

Stacking the Shelves (December 21, 2014)

This will most likely be my last Stacking the Shelves post for 2014.  I can't believe the year is coming to a close so quickly.  I'm thrilled that I reached my reading goals and I am already collecting some titles to start off 2015.  Thank you to Tynga's Reviews for this weekly post.  Here are my first few picks for the new year.  Click on any of them to see more information:

What did you stack your shelves with this week?

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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:

What if
By: Rebecca Donovan
Publication Date: January 20, 2015

What if you had a second chance to meet someone for the first time?Cal Logan is shocked to see Nicole Bentley sitting across from him at a coffee shop thousands of miles from their hometown. After all, no one has seen or heard from her since they graduated over a year ago. 
Except this girl isn't Nicole.
She looks exactly like Cal's shy childhood crush, but her name is Nyelle Preston and she has no idea who he is. This girl is impulsive and daring, her passion for life infectious. The complete opposite of Nicole. Cal finds himself utterly fascinated-and falling hard. But Nyelle is also extremely secretive. And the closer he comes to finding out what she's hiding, the less he wants to know.

When the secrets from the past and present collide, one thing becomes clear: Nothing is what it seems.

What's your "waiting on" pick this week?


Monday, December 15, 2014

It's Monday, What are You Reading?

Welcome to, It’s Monday What Are You Reading?  This meme is hosted by Bookjourney and allows us all to share what we read this past week and what our plans are for the upcoming week.  

It’s a great way to see what others are reading and add to your own To Be Read list (which for me is getting a bit longer than I like it to be). 

I'm looking forward to seeing what everyone is reading!

Well, I have to say that I have been super busy with work and knitting some cute clothes for my daughters American Girl Doll.  I've been reading a lot of Twitterchats and knitting patterns, does that count?  However, I did start Prince Lestat by Anne Rice last week and I am just about halfway through.  I was so excited when I found out there would be a new addition to The Vampire Chronicles and so far, I am not disappointed in this latest book.  Lestat is still the Brat Prince and I am hoping to read about some of the other beloved characters from the series.  So, I will hopefully be finishing this book either tonight or tomorrow night so I can write my review and squeeze some much loved blogging into my schedule this week as well.

Have a wonderful reading week everyone! 

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Blog Tour: Tess in Boots

I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.  :)

Tess Dougherty plans every aspect of her life right down to the last detail. But she doesnt plan on running her boyfriend off by bringing up the topic of marriage before hes ready. And she doesnt plan to lose her job on the day shes set to receive a huge promotion. So when her perfect world unravels, Tess makes a new plan: disappear.

Tess packs her bags and leaves her city apartment for a remote vineyard in North Carolina. At first, shes put off by the slow pace of small-town life in the South. Shes especially irritated by Thatcher, the vineyards smart-mouth, dimple-faced farmhand. But she soon begins to appreciate the areas charm, and Thatchers charm, too. She even swaps her trademark heels for a pair of cowboy boots. As Tess spends more time getting to know Thatcher, she finds herself loosening her grip on her old life little by little. Unfortunately, things on the vineyard arent as simple as they seem. Theres a secret here, and when the truth comes to light, Tess is forced to reconsider every plan shes ever made.

My Review:
This wasn't an extremely long book but it was an enjoyable one.  Tess is your typical city girl who is at a point in her life where big decisions are abundant.  She is easy to relate to because almost every girl has had to deal with these types of decisions and we have all big dreams and our hearts broken.  I rooted for Tess right from the beginning and hoped that she would find her happy ending.  Just from the type of book this is, I could tell from pretty early on how the story would end but that didn't take away from the fun.

Tess went from being organized and focused to being a bit of a hot mess pretty quickly. As soon as she arrived at her brother's house, she and Thatcher had immediate chemistry.  There were however, a lot of bumps in the road as they slowly started a relationship, some of these bumps had me laughing out loud and others were more sad or serious. The fact that almost everyone in town thought Tess was a stripper due to a misunderstanding when she first arrived in town was quite amusing and the back story about the boots was touching.  The story itself was very sweet and leaves you feeling good when you finish it.  It is racy and it was nice to read a clean book that still held my attention to the point where I didn't want to put it down. I would definitely read another book by this author in the future.  

If you are looking for a light romance novel that has and interesting plot and a happy ending, grab this one and dive in.  It is perfect for the beach or for a rainy day when you have a few hours to spare. Be sure to check out the book trailer below and then scroll down to the bottom and enter the giveaway!

Author Bio:
Courtney Rice Gager graduated from Virginia Tech with a bachelors degree in communication and a minor in creative writing. Courtney is also the author of The Buggy List. She lives in New Jersey with her husband and daughter.


Monday, November 24, 2014

Audiobook Book Tour: The Publicist

This audiobook was given to me free in exchange for an honest review.  It is my first audiobook review and, to be honest, I don't listen to a lot of audiobooks.  I have the time on my commute to work each morning and afternoon but audiobooks are usually more expensive so I don't usually go in that direction. Once I got my iPad to cooperate with my usb port, I was happy I had agreed to the review.  I found the book to be a nice change from my usual morning radio station.

Synopsis of The Publicist:
Can one woman change an age-old institution like publishing? Probably not, but Kate Mitchell sure wants to try. As a publicist with a large, respected New York publishing house, Kate finds herself at the mercy of a broken publishing system, books that don’t sell, and author egos that are often, well, as big as the island of Manhattan. 
Enter the star editor, MacDermott Ellis: Tall, handsome, charismatic, married, and ready to save the day. Then there’s Allan Lavigne, once a revered author—now as forgotten as last year’s bestsellers and his nephew Nick: Tall, gorgeous, sweet, single, and ready to sweep Kate off her feet. Kate wants to do the right thing but her hormones seem to be driving her decisions. 
As Kate tries to navigate the landmine of publicity, over-the-top author expectations, and the careful dance of “I’m sorry, your book isn’t on the bestseller list this week,” she also finds authors who are painfully overlooked by a publisher wanting more romance and sex, more celebrities, and more scandal. 

Welcome to the world of publishing. The ego has landed. 

My review:
I actually found it to be truly enjoyable, and this is coming from a reader who isn't usually fond of romance novels unless they are full of sarcasm and snark.  Sure, the characters were a but cookie cutter.  Kate was beautiful and Mac and Nick both gorgeous but really, isn't that why we read this type of story?  We want to escape into the world of tall, dark, and handsome and read about women being swept off their feet.  Otherwise, we wouldn't be picking up the romance novel in the first place.  If Mac had been the perfect man with no baggage, would he be as attractive to us? I think not.  We need a bit of bad in our boy.  For me, the story provided exactly what it should.  I liked the characters, their back stories, the romance and the turmoil that came with it.  It left me wanting more which is the goal of every story and so I can say that I probably will grab the next installment in the series to see what path the characters take next.  This book is perfect for anyone who likes a nice romance with just a touch of humor.

My only issue had nothing to do with the story whatsoever.  When I read a book, I see and hear the characters in my head as I think they should be.  With the audiobook, the reader was a female.  She did an excellent job but I have to say that I had trouble finding my mental image of the male characters in the story and the reader's change in tone just didn't cut the cake for me.  I may go for the paperback version for the next book depending on the cost difference.  However, this was my only misgiving and I otherwise quite enjoyed the experience.

About the author:
Christina George has worked in publishing for twenty years (give or take). Here’s what this book isn't. It’s not a slam against publishing (though it is broken) and it’s not a slam against authors (though some of them are crazy). This book is not autobiographical though many of the stories are true. No you won’t know which ones, cause it’s more fun to guess, right? George continues to work in publicity and helps authors because at the end of the day she does love books, she loves publishing, and she loves authors. She hopes you’ll enjoy this romp through Kate’s world as much as she enjoyed creating it.

Connect with Christina: Website  ~  Twitter  ~  Facebook  ~ Goodreads

Enter the giveaway here!
a Rafflecopter giveaway


Thursday, November 20, 2014

Review: Seventh Grave and No Body

Seventh Grave and No Body is the 7th (obviously) book in the Charley Davidson series and I'm being honest when I say that these books could probably go on forever and I will never get tired of them.  This is mostly due to the fact that the main character, who is the one and only grim reaper, is so hilariously fun and crazy that I find myself laughing out loud all the time.

Synopsis from Amazon:

Lead me not into temptation.
Follow me instead! I know a shortcut!

Twelve. Twelve of the deadliest beasts ever forged in the fires of hell have escaped onto our plane, and they want nothing more than to rip out Charley Davidson’s jugular and serve her body to Satan for dinner. So there’s that. But Charley has more on her plate than a mob of testy hellhounds. For one thing, her father has disappeared, and as she retraces his last steps she learns he was conducting an investigation of his own, one that has Charley questioning everything she’s ever known about him. Add to that an ex-BFF who is haunting her night and day, a rash of suicides that has authorities baffled, and a drop-dead sexy fiancĂ© who has attracted the attentions of a local celebrity, and Charley is not having the best week of her life. But all of that barely scratches the surface of her problems. Recent developments have forced her to become a responsible adult.  To conquer such a monumental task, she’s decided to start small. Really small. She gets a pet. But how can she save the world against the forces of evil when she can’t even keep a goldfish alive?
A tad north of hell, a hop, skip, and a jump past the realm of eternity, is a little place called Earth, and Charley Davidson, grim reaper extraordinaire, is determined to do everything in her power to protect it.
We’re doomed. 

My Review:
When I discovered this series, I was just coming from reading a book that was part of a series I started out loving and ending up hating because it was just the same plot every single time.  I was hesitant about picking up another series but something about this one made me take a second look and I was so glad I took the chance.  If you are looking for a new series, love paranormal romance, and love to laugh, you will not be sorry.  Just be sure to start with the first book in the series, First Grave on the Right. If you plan to purchase the first book, stop right here and come back once you catch up.

Charley Davidson is the main character and as usual, she is full of snark.  While her personality always drips sarcasm, this book is particularly humorous because she has decided to give up caffeine and isn't exactly having the easiest time of it.  There are several plot lines. First, the twelve beasts are hunting Charley so there are several large, fast-paced action scenes where she, her fiance (and Son of Satan) Reyes, and her other friends/protectors are fighting for their lives.  Second, someone is kidnapping people and leaving suicide notes in their wake, and third, bodies are being dug up and their ghosts are asking Charley for help.  If you have read any of these books, you already know that Charley is not the best when it comes to decision making, and, as usual, this drives Reyes crazy.  Even I wanted to slap her a few times. However, all of her bad decisions are well intended so I guess that makes up for it. Plus it also helps to know you have Satan's son on your side, and the fact that he is tall, dark, and handsome doesn't hurt either.

All of the characters in this book are engaging.  I especially love Cookie and Ubie, who have finally gotten together, and Osh becomes quite endearing in this story as well, even when he is showing off his deadly demonic side.  Mr. Wong is still hovering in the corner of Charley's apartment and I can't wait to find out who he really is and what his purpose is in Charley's life.

Just fair warning, these books will be hard to set aside so leave plenty of time for reading. They will all have you laughing out loud but they also have some sad parts, some gore (but not too graphic), and a lot of coffee drinking... decaf this time, of course.


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Review: The Night Has Teeth

I love the cover of this book. Every time I look at it, I silently applaud whoever created it.  The Parisian background is simple, yet elegant and the red shredding screams out at you, interrupting the quietude. As I read the blurb, I was reminded of one of my favorite horror movies, An American Werewolf in London. Great movie! This story may have a different setting, but it did have a similar feel to it.

Synopsis from Amazon:
Seventeen-year-old Connor Lewis is chased by a memory. On his first day of kindergarten he bit a boy hard enough to scar the kid for life. Since then he’s been a social outcast at a New York private school. Through an unexpected turn of good fortune, he lands a scholarship to study in Paris, where everything starts to look up. On the first day he befriends two military brats, and he may finally get a taste of what it’s like to be a normal teenager.
It doesn’t last...
His host family — an alluring young tattoo artist and her moody, handsome boyfriend — inadvertently introduce him to the underworld of werewolves where there are two types: the born and the bitten. Those born to it take the form of elegant wolves, while the latter are cursed to transform into the half-man, half-beast creatures of horror movies. The bitten rarely survive. Unfortunately, Connor is on the wanted list of a four hundred-year-old bitten human who’s searching for both a cure and a means of wiping out werewolves for good.
Connor’s loyalties are tested as he becomes embroiled in a conflict where werewolves, mad science and teen angst collide.
My Review:
This book has a main character that hooks you immediately.  Connor isn't tall, dark, and handsome but he has a quirky charm about him that draws you in.  From the start of the story, I found him to be endearing and it was an added bonus to find the secondary characters to be similarly appealing.  Amara and Arden are the couple who host Connor while he is in Paris. They could easily have their own story written and it would be great! Arden seems eternally angry and Amara is quiet but determined. They don't talk much but you can tell that they have a rock solid bond just by the way they communicate with their eyes and their body language. I was rooting for them from the beginning. Then there was Madison, another secondary character who, although troubled and seemingly depressed, was also very interesting.  Each character had secrets and as Connor got closer and closer to the truth, it was clear that all of them were entwined by a common thread.  There was not one character in this book who didn't have purpose.
The plot was engaging and it flowed at a nice pace.  The action and suspense was consistent and the only part that I found to be a bit slow was when Connor was listening to an explanation of who he was and the scientific research when he was taken captive. Otherwise, the story moved along quickly and it was hard to put down.  It isn't too gory but there is some bloodshed, which is to be expected when reading about werewolves, right?  However, this isn't your usual werewolf novel.  Much of it focuses on Connor and his relationships with the other characters, with him slowly realizing who/what he is and that the world and people around him aren't what he originally thought.  There is a bit of science fiction in the mix also while certain characters look for a "cure" to stop werewolves. 
In the Paris setting, the catacombs, cemeteries, and underground added to the mysterious yet inviting atmosphere of the story.  I'm still not sure who the good guys are and I'm not sure Connor is either at this book's end. Don't expect the story to wrap up nicely because it does the exact opposite, leaving you desperate to know what will happen next for Connor.  It seems like there will eventually be a battle between good and evil and I'm very interested to see who the real heroes and villains in this series will be. :)